Friday, August 24, 2012

Is there a drone in your neighbourhood?

A lot of Democrat voters are drones but this is different


IMF admits that Iceland got it right

It put its people first and refused to bail out its banks. America too could have let its crooked banks fail and protected its people via the FDIC

Iceland holds some key lessons for nations trying to survive bailouts after the island’s approach to its rescue led to a “surprisingly” strong recovery, the International Monetary Fund’s mission chief to the country said.

Iceland’s commitment to its program, a decision to push losses on to bondholders instead of taxpayers and the safeguarding of a welfare system that shielded the unemployed from penury helped propel the nation from collapse toward recovery, according to the Washington-based fund.

“Iceland has made significant achievements since the crisis,” Daria V. Zakharova, IMF mission chief to the island, said in an interview. “We have a very positive outlook on growth, especially for this year and next year because it appears to us that the growth is broad based.”

Iceland refused to protect creditors in its banks, which failed in 2008 after their debts bloated to 10 times the size of the economy. The island’s subsequent decision to shield itself from a capital outflow by restricting currency movements allowed the government to ward off a speculative attack, cauterizing the economy’s hemorrhaging. That helped the authorities focus on supporting households and businesses.

“The fact that Iceland managed to preserve the social welfare system in the face of a very sizeable fiscal consolidation is one of the major achievements under the program and of the Icelandic government,” Zakharova said. The program benefited from “strong implementation, reflecting ownership on the part of the authorities,” she said.

In Iceland, the krona’s 80 percent plunge against the euro offshore in 2008 helped turn a trade deficit into a surplus by the end of the same year. Unemployment, which jumped nine-fold between 2007 and 2010, eased to 4.8 percent in June from a peak of 9.3 percent two years ago. The $13 billion economy will expand 2.4 percent this year, the IMF said April 17. That compares with an estimated 0.3 percent contraction in the 17-member euro area.

Iceland’s growth “is driven by private consumption, investment has picked up strongly and even though, when you look at net exports, those have a negative contribution to growth, it is mainly because imports have been strong, reflecting strong consumption and an increase in income and the healthy expectations of households,” Zakharova said. “Still, exports have been increasing very strongly. Last year was a banner year for tourism. These are all really positive things.”

The krona has gained about 15 percent against the euro since a March 28 low and was trading little changed at 147.27 per single currency as of 12 noon in Reykjavik today.

“The lifting of the capital controls is a key challenge for Iceland and it’s not an easy task,” she said. At the same time, “the government has regained access to international capital markets; the cleaning up of the balance sheet of banks has been proceeding at good speed. So going forward it’s important that the gains are sustained and consolidated,” she said.

As the central bank prepares to ease capital controls, policy makers are also raising interest rates in part to protect the krona from any weakening that might ensue. The bank increased its benchmark rate a quarter or a percentage point on June 13, bringing it to 5.75 percent. It was the fifth interest- rate increase since August last year.

“Further monetary tightening is needed, over the next few quarters, in order for Iceland to get to the target,” Zakharova said. “But we’ve also seen that the central bank has made strong statements about a hawkish monetary policy stance, indicating that the monetary policy will be tightened over time. So we think that the stance is appropriate at this point.”



The race clownery of Obama-Biden

By Michelle Malkin

Looks like Vice President Joe Biden has been taking extracurricular Democratic jive-talking lessons. The results of condescending liberals' cynical racial pandering attempts are, as always, seismically cringe-inducing.

At a campaign event in Danville, Va., the gaffetastic veep dropped his g's and picked up a bizarre twang in front of an audience of black voters. Middle-Class Joe swapped his Home Depot apron for an A.M.E. preacher's robe and sermonized about the big, bad GOP.

Romney's "gonna let the big banks once again write their own rules," Biden shouted. "Unnnn-chain Wall Street," he exclaimed with pulpit bravado. "They're gonna put y'all back in chains," the pasty Delaware wheeler-dealer faux-drawled. Extra-emphasis on the "y'all."

Yes, Biden is rattling chains like an extra in "Roots." This is the same politician of pallor who cracked jokes about Indians who work in 7-Elevens and who referred to his now-boss as "clean" and "articulate." Yet, Biden's demagoguery was met with approving hoots and hollers. Or rather, hollas.

Naturally, the defiant Obama campaign backed up Biden and gave a shout-out of its own. Welcome to the new tone -- and the same old slime. Prevaricating spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter (last seen defending the phony, indefensible Romney-killed-a-steelworker's-wife ad run by Obama Super PAC Priorities USA) chimed in after Biden's speech. "We have no problem with those comments," she told MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell. Biden "was using a metaphor" with which the president agrees.

Timing matters. Biden's race-baiting came after a weekend clogged with divisive jabs at GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's announcement of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate.

Democratic Rep. Donna Christensen, the non-voting delegate from the U.S. Virgin Islands to the U.S. House of Representatives, tweeted: "Wait a minute! Are there black people in Va? Guess just not w Romney Ryan! At least not seeing us. We know who's got our back & we have his." Left-wing actress Mia Farrow watched the announcement and derided a "whole bunch of white people." They were joined by countless "progressive" social media users who mocked the GOP's "white guy, white guy 2012!!!" Sirius XM radio host Dave Rubin -- himself the color of discount Charmin toilet paper -- called Romney-Ryan "the whitest ticket since the KKK voted for their box social chairperson."

Gotta love post-racial America!

The poisonous slavery allusion echoed the former pastor of Biden's boss. Rev. Jeremiah Wright, you may recall, used the same "chains" imagery to justify his "God Damn America" diatribe. "America," he inveighed in Obama's old Chicago-based Trinity United Church, put blacks in "chains ... and then wants us to sing 'God Bless America'? No, no, no. Not God bless America; God damn America!"

Biden's stunt also echoes Hillary Clinton's infamous black church minstrel performances in which she unleashed a mortifying Southern-spiced-with-street accent to show her street solidarity: "For the last five years, we've had No. Power. At. All. And that makes a big difference, because when you look at the way the House of Representatives has been run, it has been run like a plantation. An' yew know what ah'm talkin' about." At an event with race-hustler Al Sharpton, she poured it on thicker: "I'm afraid I'm gonna lift up the rug, and I'm goin' to see so much stuff uh-nder thar. ... You know, what is it about us always havin' to clean up after people? ... But this is not just goin' to be pickin' up socks off the floor. This is goin' to be cleanin' up the government."

At least the only thing she manufactured was her patronizing dialect. Remember candidate Barack Obama's 2007 Selma, Ala., speech? To court black voters, Obama claimed that President Kennedy had sponsored the airlift in Africa responsible for bringing his family to the U.S. and asserted that Selma's 1965 Bloody Sunday demonstration brought his parents together and led to his birth. Of course, JFK didn't take office until two years after Obama's father arrived in the U.S., and the president was born four years before Bloody Sunday.

Obama-Biden 2012: Never let facts, civility or scruples get in the way of a racist racial pander.



Why Ryan might be right about Medicare

Overlooked in the furor surrounding Paul Ryan’s Medicare proposal — a plan, it should be recalled, that wouldn’t start until 2023 and even then would affect only new beneficiaries — is a just-published study in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) suggesting that, well, Ryan might be right. The study finds that a voucher-type system might noticeably reduce costs compared to “traditional” fee-for-service Medicare. Three Harvard economists did the study, including one prominent supporter of President Obama’s health-care overhaul.

The study compared the costs of traditional Medicare with Medicare Advantage, a voucher-like program that now enrolls about 25 percent of beneficiaries. Medicare Advantage has cost less for identical coverage. From 2006 to 2009, the gap averaged 11 percent between traditional Medicare and voucher plans that, under the proposal by Ryan and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), would serve as a price “benchmark.”

The central issue here is whether the runaway costs of the health sector, comprising nearly one-fifth of the economy, can be controlled without eroding medical quality. Almost everyone agrees that the delivery system — the amalgam of hospitals, clinics, doctors and nurses — should be reorganized to lower costs and eliminate unneeded care. The question is how.

One group favors market-like mechanisms. Consumers would receive vouchers, either payments or tax credits, to buy coverage. The theory: as people shop for low-cost and high-quality plans, competition forces the delivery system to restructure. Hospitals, doctors, insurers create more efficient networks with more coordinated care than today’s fee-for-service system. By contrast, fee-for-service reimburses doctors and hospitals for services they perform; this encourages unneeded tests and procedures.

The JAMA study doesn’t surprise advocates of this “consumer driven” health care. “Medicare fee-for-service is an inefficient way to deliver care,” says James Capretta, associate director of the Office of Management and Budget from 2001 to 2004. “It’s an engine for volume-driven spending.” Cost savings under a full-fledged voucher system would be much larger, he argues, because Medicare Advantage’s modest size has created only “muted competition.”

Medicare Advantage reinforces another bit of real-word evidence for market-like policies. This is the Medicare drug benefit (Part D), launched in 2006 with a voucher approach. In 2012, beneficiaries could choose from at least two-dozen plans. Part D’s costs have been about 30 percent below early estimates by the Congressional Budget Office, though vouchers are not the only reason (more generic drugs is another). In 2013, average monthly premiums — the part paid by recipients — are projected to stay at $30 for a third straight year.....

Limits must be imposed on the health sector. There are no pleasing ways to do this. Still, the increasing evidence from large-scale experience is that market mechanisms offer the best chance of reconciling Americans’ desire for personal choice with cost control. If there are better ideas, let’s hear them. Otherwise, we shouldn’t reject the obvious merely because it’s unfamiliar.

Voucher plans are not right-wing, extremist ideas. They enjoy support in both parties. Ryan would permit continuation of fee-for-service; if it’s more efficient and effective, it would survive. If not, its decline would be no great loss. The Ryan plan’s greatest defect may be that it doesn’t start for a decade. We can’t wait that long.



Stingy liberals

by Jeff Jacoby

THERE ARE 366 major metropolitan areas in the United States, and a comprehensive new study by the Chronicle of Philanthropy ranks them on the basis of generosity -- the percentage of income the median household in each city gives to charity. According to the Chronicle, the most generous city in America is Provo, Utah, where residents typically give away 13.9 percent of their discretionary income. Boston, by contrast, ranks No. 358: In New England's leading city, the median household donates just 2.9 percent of its income to charity.

Provo's generosity is typical for its region. Of the 10 most generous cities in America, according to the Chronicle's calculations, six are in Utah and Idaho. Boston's tight-fistedness is typical too: Of the 10 stingy cities at the bottom of the list, eight are in New England -- including Springfield (No. 363) and Worcester (No. 364).

What's the matter with Massachusetts? How can residents of the bluest state, whose political and cultural leaders make much of their compassion and frequently remind the affluent that we're all in this together, be so lacking in personal generosity? And why would charitable giving be so outstanding in places as conservative as Utah and Idaho?

The question is built on a fallacy.

Liberals, popular stereotypes notwithstanding, are not more generous and compassionate than conservatives. To an outsider it might seem plausible that Americans whose political rhetoric emphasizes "fairness" and "social justice" would be more charitably inclined than those who stress economic liberty and individual autonomy. But reams of evidence contradict that presumption, as Syracuse University professor Arthur Brooks demonstrated in his landmark 2006 book, Who Really Cares.

However durable the myth, wrote Brooks (who now heads the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington think tank), there is no getting around the data. For years, academic research and comprehensive national studies have confirmed that Americans who lean to the left politically tend to be much less charitable than those who tilt rightward. The Chronicle of Philanthropy's new report is only the latest in a long series of studies corroborating that fact.

In 1996, for example, the wide-ranging General Social Survey asked a large sample of Americans whether "the government has a responsibility to reduce income inequality" -- a key ideological litmus test. Thirty-three percent of respondents agreed; 43 percent disagreed. The two groups differed sharply in more than their politics. The conservatives -- those who opposed government programs to reduce inequality -- were significantly more likely to donate money to charity than the liberals. And among those who did donate, conservatives gave away, on average, four times as much money per year.

Though there is a strong link between religious belief and philanthropy, it wasn't just churches the conservatives were giving to. "They gave more to every type of cause and charity: health charities, education organizations, international aid groups, and human welfare agencies," Brooks noted. They even gave more "to traditionally liberal causes, such as the environment and the arts."

None of this was what Brooks had anticipated when he began his research. "I expected to find that political liberals … would turn out to be the most privately charitable people," he says. "So when my early findings led to the opposite conclusion, I assumed I had made some sort of technical error…. In the end, I had no option but to change my views."

The Chronicle's new study, which is based on IRS records from 2008 (the most recent available), accounts for regional differences in the cost of living. It calculates charitable giving only from discretionary income -- the dollars left over after paying for taxes, housing, and food. But the economic differences are not nearly as significant as cultural differences. In parts of the country where conservative values dominate, charity tends to be high. Where liberalism holds sway, charity falls. "Red states are more generous than blue states," the Chronicle concludes. The eight states that ranked the highest in charitable giving all voted for John McCain in 2008. The seven lowest-ranking states supported Barack Obama.

Of course this doesn't mean that there aren't generous philanthropists in New England. It doesn't mean selfishness is unknown on the right. What it does mean is that where people are encouraged to think that solving society's ills is primarily a job for government, charity tends to evaporate. The politics of "compassion" isn't the same as compassionate behavior. America's generosity divide separates those who understand the difference from those who don't.



My identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my old Facebook page as I rarely accessed it. For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Thursday, August 23, 2012

In Obama's America .....


Why the Doctor Can't See You

The demand for health care under ObamaCare will increase dramatically. The supply of physicians won't. Get ready for a two-tier system of medical care

Are you having trouble finding a doctor who will see you? If not, give it another year and a half. A doctor shortage is on its way.

Most provisions of the Obama health law kick in on Jan. 1, 2014. Within the decade after that, an additional 30 million people are expected to acquire health plans—and if the economic studies are correct, they will try to double their use of the health-care system.

Meanwhile, the administration never seems to tire of reminding seniors that they are entitled to a free annual checkup. Its new campaign is focused on women. Thanks to health reform, they are being told, they will have access to free breast and pelvic exams and even free contraceptives. Once ObamaCare fully takes effect, all of us will be entitled to a long list of preventive services—with no deductible or copayment.

Here is the problem: The health-care system can't possibly deliver on the huge increase in demand for primary-care services. The original ObamaCare bill actually had a line item for increased doctor training. But this provision was zeroed out before passage, probably to keep down the cost of health reform. The result will be gridlock.

Take preventive care. ObamaCare says that health insurance must cover the tests and procedures recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. What would that involve? In the American Journal of Public Health (2003), scholars at Duke University calculated that arranging for and counseling patients about all those screenings would require 1,773 hours of the average primary-care physician's time each year, or 7.4 hours per working day.

And all of this time is time spent searching for problems and talking about the search. If the screenings turn up a real problem, there will have to be more testing and more counseling. Bottom line: To meet the promise of free preventive care nationwide, every family doctor in America would have to work full-time delivering it, leaving no time for all the other things they need to do.

When demand exceeds supply in a normal market, the price rises until it reaches a market-clearing level. But in this country, as in other developed nations, Americans do not primarily pay for care with their own money. They pay with time.

How long does it take you on the phone to make an appointment to see a doctor? How many days do you have to wait before she can see you? How long does it take to get to the doctor's office? Once there, how long do you have to wait before being seen? These are all non-price barriers to care, and there is substantial evidence that they are more important in deterring care than the fee the doctor charges, even for low-income patients.

For example, the average wait to see a new family doctor in this country is just under three weeks, according to a 2009 survey by medical consultancy Merritt Hawkins. But in Boston, Mass.—which enacted a law under Gov. Mitt Romney that established near-universal coverage—the wait is about two months.

When people cannot find a primary-care physician who will see them in a reasonable length of time, all too often they go to hospital emergency rooms. Yet a 2007 study of California in the Annals of Emergency Medicine showed that up to 20% of the patients who entered an emergency room left without ever seeing a doctor, because they got tired of waiting. Be prepared for that situation to get worse.

When demand exceeds supply, doctors have a great deal of flexibility about who they see and when they see them. Not surprisingly, they tend to see those patients first who pay the highest fees. A New York Times survey of dermatologists in 2008 for example, found an extensive two-tiered system. For patients in need of services covered by Medicare, the typical wait to see a doctor was two or three weeks, and the appointments were made by answering machine.

However, for Botox and other treatments not covered by Medicare (and for which patients pay the market price out of pocket), appointments to see those same doctors were often available on the same day, and they were made by live receptionists.

As physicians increasingly have to allocate their time, patients in plans that pay below-market prices will likely wait longest. Those patients will be the elderly and the disabled on Medicare, low-income families on Medicaid, and (if the Massachusetts model is followed) people with subsidized insurance acquired in ObamaCare's newly created health insurance exchanges.

Their wait will only become longer as more and more Americans turn to concierge medicine for their care. Although the model differs from region to region and doctor to doctor, concierge medicine basically means that patients pay doctors to be their agents, rather than the agents of third-party-payers such as insurance companies or government bureaucracies.

For a fee of roughly $1,500 to $2,000, for example, a Medicare patient can form a new relationship with a doctor. This usually includes same day or next-day appointments. It also usually means that patients can talk with their physicians by telephone and email. The physician helps the patient obtain tests, make appointments with specialists and in other ways negotiate an increasingly bureaucratic health-care system.

Here is the problem. A typical primary-care physician has about 2,500 patients (according to a 2009 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), but when he opens a concierge practice, he'll typically take about 500 patients with him (according to MDVIP, the largest organization of concierge doctors): That's about all he can handle, given the extra time and attention those patients are going to expect. But the 2,000 patients left behind now must find another physician. So in general, as concierge care grows, the strain on the rest of the system will become greater.

I predict that in the next several years concierge medicine will grow rapidly, and every senior who can afford one will have a concierge doctor. A lot of non-seniors will as well. We will quickly evolve into a two-tiered health-care system, with those who can afford it getting more care and better care.

In the meantime, the most vulnerable populations will have less access to care than they had before ObamaCare became law.



The Health-Care Spending Claim That Made Obamacare Possible Was a Lie

Health care costs were slowing before the passage of Obamacare

Here is the way Obama put the argument in a September 9, 2009, speech about health care to a joint session of Congress:

"Then there’s the problem of rising premiums have gone up three times faster than wages....our health care system is placing an unsustainable burden on taxpayers. When health care costs grow at the rate they have, it puts greater pressure on programs like Medicare and Medicaid. If we do nothing to slow these skyrocketing costs, we will eventually be spending more on Medicare and Medicaid than every other government program combined.... Now, these are the facts. Nobody disputes them."

Obama’s voice saying “these are the facts. Nobody disputes them,” is almost enough to set off sound effects akin to those that accompany Pinocchio’s growing nose in the Disney movie.

Sure enough, now that the data are in, the emerging consensus is that health care costs, rather than “skyrocketing,” have been moderating, even flat-lining. And they were beginning to do so well before Congress passed ObamaCare in March 2010.

There have been a trickling of academic papers and journal articles tracking the trend, but the news hasn’t really yet made it fully into the political discussion.

A January 2012 article in the journal Health Affairs reported that “U.S. health spending grew more slowly in 2009 and 2010—at rates of 3.8 percent and 3.9 percent, respectively—than in any other years during the fifty-one-year history of the National Health Expenditure Accounts.” That article, by economists and statisticians who work for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, says, rather than controlling costs, ObamaCare actually increased health spending by one or two tenths of a percentage point in 2010. Overall, though, the law’s effect in 2010 was less important than were things like “the loss of patent protection for certain brand-name drugs” and “a continuing increase in the use of generic medications,” i.e., those $4 generics at Walmart.

"Slower Growth In Medicare Spending—Is This the New Normal?” was the headline on one article published in March 2012 in the New England Journal of Medicine. That discussed a series of factors. The economic downturn meant some hospitals delayed or canceled construction projects because of “tight credit markets and shrinking endowments.” Demographically, the Baby Boomers just becoming eligible for Medicare are “young elderly” who tend to be healthier and require less costly care. This article also mentions two Bush-era laws: “The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 reduced payment rates for imaging, home health services, and durable medical equipment, and the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 made substantial cuts to Medicare Advantage plans.”

Another New England Journal of Medicine article, from August 2, 2012, reported what it called a “marked slowdown in spending growth.” That article says that “Between 2000 and 2005, Medicare spending per enrollee grew about 7.2% annually, as compared with 9.1% growth among private payers. Between 2006 and 2010, however, growth in Medicare spending per enrollee slowed to 4.2% annually, as compared with 4.5% among private payers.” The article says growth of Medicaid spending per enrollee “was relatively slow (less than 3% per year) throughout the past decade.” Among the causes, the authors speculate, were “lower growth rates for prescription-drug spending” in part because of “the increased substitution of generics for brand-name drugs.”

According to the National Health Expenditure Accounts maintained by the Department of Health and Human Services, health care spending was about 14 percent of GDP from 1997 to 2001, then grew to about 16 percent from 2003 to 2007. In 2009 and 2010 it was at 17.9 percent. After just about doubling to $2.4 trillion from $1.2 trillion in the decade between 1998 and 2008, health care spending was about $2.5 trillion in 2009 and about $2.6 trillion in 2010.

The man who was President Obama’s White House budget director, Peter Orszag, weighed in last week from his new perch in the private sector with a column acknowledging that “The rising cost of health care in the U.S. has been slowing over the past few years.”

“Slowing,” not “skyrocketing,” got that? Now he tells us. In an email to me, Orszag tried to credit both President Obama’s stimulus spending on electronic health records and the ObamaCare law for the slowdown. But his timing and his logic are both off base.

Republicans who opposed ObamaCare in the first place can use these new facts as part of an argument for repeal. The “skyrocketing” costs that the president used to sell the law were already slowing without the new law. But in pushing their own health-care reform agenda to replace ObamaCare, Republicans will have to be careful not to repeat the president’s mistake. Even markets with huge government involvement, like health care in America, sometimes have ways of self-correcting.



Thanks to Pro-Free Market Reforms, Chile Is the Latin Tiger

A good article below but a pity that it does not directly mention the essential role of Augusto Pinochet in the Chilean reforms

The world is a laboratory, with some nations (such as France) showing why statism is a mistake, other jurisdictions (such as Hong Kong) showing that freedom is a key to prosperity, and other countries (such as Sweden) having good and bad features.

It’s time to include Chile in the list of nations with generally good policies. That nation’s transition from statism and dictatorship to freedom and prosperity must rank as one of the most positive developments over the past 30 years.

Here’s some of what I wrote with Julia Morriss for the Daily Caller. Let’s start with the bad news.

"Thirty years ago, Chile was a basket case. A socialist government in the 1970s had crippled the economy and destabilized society, leading to civil unrest and a military coup. Given the dismal situation, it’s no surprise that Chile’s economy was moribund and other Latin American countries, such as Mexico, Venezuela, and Argentina, had about twice as much per-capita economic output."

Realizing that change was necessary, the nation began to adopt pro-market reforms. Many people in the policy world are at least vaguely familiar with the system of personal retirement accounts that was introduced in the early 1980s, but we explain in the article that pension reform was just the beginning.

Let’s look at how Chile became the Latin Tiger. Pension reform is the best-known economic reform in Chile. Ever since the early 1980s, workers have been allowed to put 10 percent of their income into a personal retirement account. This system, implemented by José Piñera, has been remarkably successful, reducing the burden of taxes and spending and increasing saving and investment, while also producing a 50-100 percent increase in retirement benefits. Chile is now a nation of capitalists. But it takes a lot more than entitlement reform, however impressive, to turn a nation into an economic success story. What made Chile special was across-the-board economic liberalization.

We then show the data (on a scale of 1-10) from the Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom of the World, which confirm significant pro-market reforms in just about all facets of economic policy over the past three decades.

But have these reforms made a difference for the Chilean people? The answer seems to be a firm yes.

"This has meant good things for all segments of the population. The number of people below the poverty line dropped from 40 percent to 20 percent between 1985 and 1997 and then to 15.1 percent in 2009. Public debt is now under 10 percent of GDP and after 1983 GDP grew an average of 4.6 percent per year. But growth isn’t a random event. Chile has prospered because the burden of government has declined. Chile is now ranked number one for freedom in its region and number seven in the world, even ahead of the United States."

But I think the most important piece of evidence (building on the powerful comparison in this chart) is in the second table we included with the article.

Chile’s per-capita GDP has increased by about 130 percent, while other major Latin American nations have experienced much more modest growth (or, in the tragic case of Venezuela, almost no growth).

Perhaps not as impressive as the performance of Hong Kong and Singapore, but that’s to be expected since they regularly rank as the world’s two most pro-market jurisdictions.

But that’s not to take the limelight away from Chile. That nation’s reforms are impressive - particularly considering the grim developments of the 1970s. So our takeaway is rather obvious.

"The lesson from Chile is that free markets and small government are a recipe for prosperity. The key for other developing nations is to figure out how to achieve these benefits without first suffering through a period of socialist tyranny and military dictatorship."

Heck, if other developing nations learn the right lessons from Chile, maybe we can even educate policy makers in America about the benefits of restraining Leviathan.

P.S. One thing that Julia and I forgot to include in the article is that Chile has reformed its education system with vouchers, similar to the good reforms in Sweden and the Netherlands.



My identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my old Facebook page as I rarely accessed it. For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

"Issues" or America?

Thomas Sowell

There are some very serious issues at stake in this year's election -- so many that some people may not be able to see the forest for the trees. Individual issues are the trees, but the forest is the future of America as we have known it.

The America that has flourished for more than two centuries is being quietly but steadily dismantled by the Obama administration, during the process of dealing with particular issues.

For example, the merits or demerits of President Obama's recent executive order, suspending legal liability for young people who are here illegally, presumably as a result of being brought here as children by their parents, can be debated pro and con. But such a debate overlooks the much more fundamental undermining of the whole American system of Constitutional government.

The separation of powers into legislative, executive and judicial branches of government is at the heart of the Constitution of the United States -- and the Constitution is at the heart of freedom for Americans.

No President of the United States is authorized to repeal parts of legislation passed by Congress. He may veto the whole legislation, but then Congress can override his veto if they have enough votes. Nevertheless, every President takes an oath to faithfully execute the laws that have been passed and sustained -- not just the ones he happens to agree with.

If laws passed by the elected representatives of the people can be simply over-ruled unilaterally by whoever is in the White House, then we are no longer a free people, choosing what laws we want to live under.

When a President can ignore the plain language of duly passed laws, and substitute his own executive orders, then we no longer have "a government of laws, and not of men" but a President ruling by decree, like the dictator in some banana republic.

When we confine our debates to the merits or demerits of particular executive orders, we are tacitly accepting arbitrary rule. The Constitution of the United States cannot protect us unless we protect the Constitution. But, if we allow ourselves to get bogged down in the details of particular policies imposed by executive orders, and vote solely on that basis, then we have failed to protect the Constitution -- and ourselves.

Whatever the merits or demerits of the No Child Left Behind Act, it is the law until Congress either repeals it or amends it. But for Barack Obama to unilaterally waive whatever provisions he doesn't like in that law undermines the fundamental nature of American government.

President Obama has likewise unilaterally repealed the legal requirement that welfare recipients must work, by simply redefining "work" to include other things like going to classes on weight control. If we think the bipartisan welfare reform legislation from the Clinton administration should be repealed or amended, that is something for the legislative branch of government to consider.

There have been many wise warnings that freedom is seldom lost all at once. It is usually eroded away, bit by bit, until it is all gone. You may not notice a gradual erosion while it is going on, but you may eventually be shocked to discover one day that it is all gone, that we have been reduced from citizens to subjects, and the Constitution has become just a meaningless bunch of paper.

ObamaCare imposes huge costs on some institutions, while the President's arbitrary waivers exempt other institutions from having to pay those same costs. That is hardly the "equal protection of the laws," promised by the 14th Amendment.

John Stuart Mill explained the dangers in that kind of government long ago: "A government with all this mass of favours to give or to withhold, however free in name, wields a power of bribery scarcely surpassed by an avowed autocracy, rendering it master of the elections in almost any circumstances but those of rare and extraordinary public excitement."

If Obama gets reelected, he knows that he need no longer worry about what the voters think about anything he does. Never having to face them again, he can take his arbitrary rule by decree as far as he wants. He may be challenged in the courts but, if he gets just one more Supreme Court appointment, he can pick someone who will rubber stamp anything he does and give him a 5 to 4 majority.



Stressed? Are You Disabled?

Katie Kieffer

Government worker: “Do you have a disability?”

Man: “No.”

Man’s wife: “What does he get if he’s disabled?”

Government worker: “His monthly payments will [double].”

Man’s wife: “Well, then he’s disabled.”

Government worker (to man): “What’s your disability?”

Man: “I’m stressed.”

An attorney friend of mine recently overheard the above conversation in a Florida government building. The man, who had just turned 65, was signing up for retirement benefits while his wife stood over his shoulder. I relay the story to illustrate how our government is expanding the definition of the term “disability.”

Howard Rich explains in his recent Wall Street Journal commentary: ‘Washington isn’t broke because the government is inefficient. It’s broke because it promises too much. …$125 billion in disability payments each year—a number that’s increased 17-fold over the past four decades (after adjusting for inflation). …[due to the] government’s increasingly malleable definition of what constitutes a “disability,” …workers who complain of “persistent anxiety” and “chronic fatigue” are now viewed by the government as being disabled.’

Basically, if you’re stressed, the federal government now considers you to be disabled. But isn’t everyone (with a life) stressed? So are we all disabled?

Activities or activity levels that “stress” one person will energize or relax another. Stress is not only subjective but it is a natural byproduct of pursuing goals more challenging than watching soap operas while soaking in a bubble bath.

Man is a rational creature and so the highest enjoyment that he can achieve is that which fulfills his mind. In Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged, the hero, John Galt, says: “Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one’s values. …But neither life nor happiness can be achieved by the pursuit of irrational whims. …the torture of frustration is all he will find, unless he seeks the happiness proper to man.”

In other words, man will not achieve happiness by avoiding work because this will lead to a level of mental frustration (stress) that no amount of monthly stipend from the government can ease.

If you desire a career doing what you are passionate about, whether it is civil engineering, painting, teaching, writing, running a small business, software programming or neurosurgery, you must log long hours and encounter stress along the way. Even to achieve fun goals like lowering your golf handicap, completing a triathlon or climbing Mount Everest, you must first put your body through physically agonizing routines. So stress is not a disability. Stress is byproduct of living.

Dr. Lynne Tan of Montefiore Medical Center in New York City tells health editor Jane Weaver: "Very successful people, rather than feeling disempowered, take the extra stress energy ... and make it into a high-energy, positive situation."

Weaver even cites studies indicating that: “…by keeping the brain cells working at peak capacity,” moderate stress could help prevent Alzheimer’s and breast cancer. Periodic stress can be good for you; with the right attitude, the hormone surges of stress can be channeled into higher levels of productivity.

Certainly, humans should reduce unhealthy stress from procrastination, depravity, inactivity and unwholesome foods.

But humans would be foolish to eliminate healthy mental challenges in exchange for a monthly “stress stipend.” I maintain that the human mind is happy when it is operating at full capacity—learning, doing and loving. As I’ve written here and here , man is rational and capitalistic behaviors help him achieve happiness. Socialism is irrational and anti-human and therefore causes mental pain (stress) in the form of apathy and envy.

If stress is a disability, why don’t we talk about Apple co-founder Steve Jobs as a disabled person? After all, Jobs was extraordinarily stressed at low points in his career, such as when he was ousted from the company he started. And when things went wrong, even as a grown man, he was known to break down in tears.

Yet, nobody thought Jobs was disabled. Everyone, including his competitors, viewed him as successful. Jobs made mistakes. He had some major regrets. But, as he grew older, he learned to channel the energy he got from stress into becoming a thriving entrepreneur and a loving son, father, husband and friend.

Jobs used stress as motivational energy to fulfill his vision of bringing amazing technology to the masses. Despite ample critics, backstabbers and cancer, he built the world’s most valuable company from the ground up. Jobs succeeded where other men fail (think Warren Buffett); he became a billionaire while maintaining his personal and professional integrity.

If you’re stressed, the federal government says: “No sweat! You qualify for cash from Obama’s stash!” But if you are relying on Obama’s cash to get you through life, please, start sweating. Word on the street is that Obama’s bank account is $16 trillion overdrawn.



Democrats for the status quo

What goes around seems to come around, such as an accusation Democrats are perennially thrilled to hurl at Republicans -- those fogies and Neanderthals, those reactionaries, those cave dwellers. What must we do with these change-hating fossils? is the recurring Democratic 'plaint. Drag 'em into modern times, kicking and screaming?

Oh, boy, does it ever come around! The shrieks and protests that fill American air space at the moment, the splutterings about change and whatever was good for Grandpa being good enough for me -- where do you hear it, on the right? Not for a minute. You hear it all on the left of the political spectrum -- the reactionary, status-quo-loving left.

Hands off everything! -- is the theme of the Barack Obama campaign and its intellectual enablers, whether based at the White House, Capitol Hill or in the press gallery. The Democrats like things as they are. Don't want none of them fancy boys from the Republican side meddling with Medicare, with Social Security, with the budget and/or with foreign policy. If it ain't broke, etc., etc.

The Republican emergence in 2012 as the party of reform and change -- arrayed against Democratic stale bread and stagnation -- has some precedent. In 1980, a year of economic wheel spinning, presided over by Jimmy Carter, a Democrat -- Ronald Reagan emerged as the candidate of change and innovation.

Mitt Romney's choice of reformer Paul Ryan for his running mate once again reverses stereotypes. The Democratic defenders of 8-percent-plus unemployment and accelerated decay in social programs seem to think they have a winning issue in "Stop! Take your filthy hands off!" By contrast, the Romney-Ryan ticket wants change.

What kind of change? That would be obvious, wouldn't it? They would change Washington, D.C.'s, bias in favor of government as the driver of growth and opportunity and the doer of all good deeds. They would pay overdue attention to the currently neglected virtues of the free market.

Many matters on this front need attention. I mention just two:

The tax system is out of whack. A near majority of Americans pay no net federal taxes, if indeed they pay any at all. America's corporate tax rate is the world's highest: a job-creation killer. The tax code is a crazy quilt of exemptions and loopholes, less noted for producing necessary revenue than for encouraging the wide employment of strategies whose purpose is the minimization of taxes. The Alternative Minimum Tax, AMT, designed to nick the rich, already hits the merely prosperous.

Never mind. Any good Democratic campaign spokesman will assure you all the Republicans mean by reform is cutting taxes for "millionaires and billionaires." No way.

No way, either, in Democratic terms, for overhaul of "Medicare as we know it." It's a nice stick-in-the-mud turn of phrase, don't you think? Just because there soon won't be enough money to finance "Medicare as we know it" doesn't mean reformers are, in essence, any more than troublemakers and Bolsheviks. The Democrats know good and well Ryan wants to voucherize Medicare, which he doesn't -- but so what; it sounds awful -- and jack up medical bills for seniors, like his 78-year-old mother.

It's wild stuff, but cave dwellers can get fairly wild when informed of the urgent need to clean up their domiciles and purge their diets of impurities.

That liberal Democrats, in the event Republican reforms actually work might vanish like the Brontosaurus, is from the liberal standpoint a truly appalling prospect. It would mean the labors of many decades led not to the promised land but to Okefenokee. That would be a horrible admission.

A truth about the reformers, themselves, needs recounting. If actually handed power, they wouldn't achieve half of what the cave dwellers fear most. Life and politics are too complex for that. Nevertheless, the present tone of the Democratic campaign -- eek! Make those bad people leave us alone! -- reminds us that dynamism is built into the human condition, and that those who get set in their ways get upset, at last, in ways hurtful to everybody.



A modern version of an old tale

"Who will help me plant my wheat?" asked the little red hen.
"Not I," said the cow.
"Not I," said the duck.
"Not I," said the pig.
"Not I," said the goose.
"Then I will do it by myself." She planted her crop and the wheat grew and ripened.

"Who will help me reap my wheat?" asked the little red hen.
"I'm on disability," said the duck.
"Out of my classification," said the pig.
"I'd lose my seniority," said the cow.
"I'd lose my unemployment compensation," said the goose.
"Then I will do it by myself," said the little red hen, and so she did.

"Who will help me bake the bread?" asked the little red hen.
"That would be overtime for me," said the cow.
"I'd lose my welfare benefits," said the duck.
"I'm a dropout and never learned how," said the pig.
"If I'm to be the only helper, that's discrimination," said the goose.
"Then I will do it by myself," said the little red hen, and so she did.

The smell of fresh-baked bread attracted all her neighbors. They saw the bread and wanted some. In fact, they demanded a share.

But the little red hen said, "No, I shall eat all the loaves."

"Excess profits!" cried the cow.
"Capitalist leech!" screamed the duck.
"I demand equal rights!" yelled the goose.
"Share with the 99 percent," grunted the pig.
And they all painted `Unfair!' picket signs and marched around and around the little red hen, shouting obscenities.

Then the farmer came He said to the little red hen, "You must not be so greedy."

"But I earned the bread," said the little red hen.

"Exactly," said the farmer. "That is what makes our free enterprise system so wonderful. Anyone in the barnyard can earn as much as he wants. But under our modern government regulations, the productive workers must divide the fruits of their labor with those who are idle."

And they all lived happily ever after.

But only in the President's fairy tale. In a real-world version, the little red hen never again baked bread and the farmyard suffered Greek-style chaos when the animals riding in the wagon suddenly discovered there was nobody left to pull the wagon.



My identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my old Facebook page as I rarely accessed it. For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A weird trick to end all weird tricks

A lot of the sites I log onto lately have advertisements for "weird tricks" -- which allegedly do things like banish your wrinkles, improve your eyesight and give you free electricity.

I have a weird trick for them all: Believe what they say. It is indeed a weird trick, a trick to get your money out of you for little return. I have subscribed to none of them. I am not that gullible. But if anybody has had any weird experiences with them, I would be amused to hear it.

I think it is rather shameful that conservative sites run such dubious stuff.


Former U.S. Marine Arrested for Leftist beliefs

Large numbers of Leftists believe in conspiracy theories but it is "terrorism" if a former marine expresses such views, apparently. It would seem to be the anti-government aspect of his views that has got Obama's stooges rattled. He did however explicity rule out use of force in his Facebook comments. In a chilling reminder of the Soviet system, he is now being held in a mental hospital.

The grabbing of the guy has now been widely covered -- which has already begun to produce some duck shoving on the part of the various parties involved in the grab. The cops are saying that they just "provided transport"! What a laugh! Locals should make sure to hail them next time they can't find a cab

This is no joke, though. Who is next? I am glad I am not an American while the proto-Fascist Obama is in charge of the place. Traditional liberties and the rule of law seem to have gone up in a puff of smoke. If the Obamabots get away with this, America will be a police state

A decorated U.S. Marine who served his nation in two wars, Brandon Raub, of Richmond Virginia, was arrested for airing his critical views of the U.S. government on Facebook this weekend.

His mother, Kathleen Thomas, says it is another case of the word 'terrorist' being applied to arrest and detain a citizen. You can hear the pride she feels for her son when she explains what he has been through, and by all counts Ms. Thomas makes her points loud and clear.

The law enforcement officials rolled up to the man's home around 7:00 last night. "He was there, the FBI, Secret Service and Chesterfield Police showed up in a storm," she said.

Thomas says her son was questioned about why he was writing certain comments, "He basically said 'I have some disagreements with the government and share this', and they said, 'You have to go with us'".

"He was handcuffed, not read his rights, put into a Chesterfield Police Department vehicle and taken to John Randolph Psychiatric Hospital in Hopewell, Virginia," Thomas said.

Agent Sherry Grainger with the Federal Bureau of Investigation called Kathleen Thomas, who described the conversation.

She said, "I am with the FBI" and "We have taken your son. He has been arrested by the Chesterfield County Police Dept because he assaulted an officer and resisted arrest. He has been arrested and taken to the Chesterfield Police Department."

The agent asked about whether her son was violent, Thomas explained that he was not, but that he loves his country. She asked the FBI agent if freedom of speech still exists in the United States.

"Yes we still have freedom of speech", Grainger reportedly said.

The FBI agent reportedly added, "The threats that he was making were terrorist in nature," telling Thomas roughly the extent of information that has been released so far, which is not much. Thomas was able to talk to her son on the phone.

As to what he is being charged with, she said, "He does not know, he has no idea why he is being held, he is told he will see a judge on Monday."

As referenced, the FBI agent, Grainger, reportedly told the woman that her son Brandon Raub was arrested for assault and resisting arrest… It was later when Grainger stated that the threats made by Raub was "terrorist in nature".


Some of the "seditious" things he said were 9-11 was done by the government (even going to such length, and an interestingly detailed thesis, of providing evidence to augment this), the War on Terror is a lie, Americans are killing innocent people in the ME, the current federal banking system is corrupt and unfeasible to Americans, and that the George Bush's family rapes little children

The video shows that the arrest was non-violent. Marines know when to employ self-defense and when to comply with an impossible situation.

More HERE. See also here. Ron Paul's site covers some of the legal aspects.


More findings on the genetics of IQ

A minute particle within a protein allowed humans to become the most intelligent creatures on the planet, say scientists. It holds the key to understanding why our brains are so much bigger and more complex than any other animal, according to new research.

It may also explain how its unequalled mental capacity evolved so rapidly and dramatically, a mystery that has baffled researchers for decades.

The modern human brain is three times larger in volume than those of the great apes, our closest living relatives. More importantly, its ratio to body size is significantly larger and it has a much greater cerebral cortex, the area that controls higher thought processes, with a higher concentration of neurons.

Professor James Sikela, of the University of Colorado, said: 'We wanted to know why. 'The size and cognitive capacity of the human brain sets us apart. But how did that happen?

'This research indicates that what drove the evolutionary expansion of the human brain may well be a specific unit within a protein - called a protein domain - that is far more numerous in humans than other species.'

The protein domain issue is known as DUF1220. Humans have more than 270 copies of DUF1220 encoded in their DNA, far more than other species. The closer a species is to humans, the more copies of DUF1220 show up. Chimpanzees have the next highest number, 125. Gorillas have 99, marmosets 30 and mice just one.

Prof Sikela said: 'The one over-riding theme that we saw repeatedly was the more copies of DUF1220 in the genome, the bigger the brain. 'And this held true whether we looked at different species or within the human population.'

Professor Sikela, whose findings were reported online in The American Journal of Human Genetics, said 'The take home message was brain size may be to a large degree a matter of protein domain dosage.



Liberals, Progressives and Socialists

Walter E. Williams

In Europe, especially in Germany, hoisting a swastika-emblazoned Nazi flag is a crime. For decades after World War II, people have hunted down and sought punishment for Nazi murderers, who were responsible for the deaths of more than 20 million people.
Here's my question: Why are the horrors of Nazism so well-known and widely condemned but not those of socialism and communism? What goes untaught -- and possibly is covered up -- is that socialist and communist ideas have produced the greatest evil in mankind's history. You say, "Williams, what in the world are you talking about? Socialists, communists and their fellow travelers, such as the Wall Street occupiers supported by our president, care about the little guy in his struggle for a fair shake! They're trying to promote social justice." Let's look at some of the history of socialism and communism.

What's not appreciated is that Nazism is a form of socialism. In fact, the term Nazi stands for the National Socialist German Workers' Party. The unspeakable acts of Adolf Hitler's Nazis pale in comparison to the horrors committed by the communists in the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the People's Republic of China. Between 1917 and 1987, Vladimir Lenin, Josef Stalin and their successors murdered and were otherwise responsible for the deaths of 62 million of their own people. Between 1949 and 1987, China's communists, led by Mao Zedong and his successors, murdered and were otherwise responsible for the deaths of 76 million Chinese. The most authoritative tally of history's most murderous regimes is documented on University of Hawaii Professor Rudolph J. Rummel's website here, and in his book "Death by Government."

How much hunting down and punishment have there been for these communist murderers? To the contrary, it's acceptable both in Europe and in the U.S. to hoist and march under the former USSR's red flag emblazoned with a hammer and sickle. Mao Zedong has long been admired by academics and leftists across our country, as they often marched around singing the praises of Mao and waving his little red book, "Quotations From Chairman Mao Tse-tung." President Barack Obama's communications director, Anita Dunn, in her June 2009 commencement address to St. Andrews Episcopal High School at Washington National Cathedral, said Mao was one of her heroes.

Whether it's the academic community, the media elite, stalwarts of the Democratic Party or organizations such as the NAACP, the National Council of La Raza, Green for All, the Sierra Club and the Children's Defense Fund, there is a great tolerance for the ideas of socialism -- a system that has caused more deaths and human misery than all other systems combined.

Today's leftists, socialists and progressives would bristle at the suggestion that their agenda differs little from those of Nazi, Soviet and Maoist mass murderers. One does not have to be in favor of death camps or wars of conquest to be a tyrant. The only requirement is that one has to believe in the primacy of the state over individual rights.

The unspeakable horrors of Nazism didn't happen overnight. They were simply the end result of a long evolution of ideas leading to consolidation of power in central government in the quest for "social justice." It was decent but misguided earlier generations of Germans -- who would have cringed at the thought of genocide -- who created the Trojan horse for Hitler's ascendancy. Today's Americans are similarly accepting the massive consolidation of power in Washington in the name of social justice.

If you don't believe it, just ask yourself: Which way are we headed tiny steps at a time -- toward greater liberty or toward more government control over our lives?

Perhaps we think that we are better human beings than the German people who created the conditions that brought Hitler to power. I say, don't count on it.



Obama Says: Doctor, You Did Not Graduate From Medical School

The reason that President Obama uses teleprompters, even when addressing elementary school children, is because he cannot help but reveal who he is and what he believes during moments that involve real spontaneity. He no doubt wishes that he had gotten a “mulligan” for that line that he inadvertently delivered: “you did not build that business”, but it says so much about the man, his agenda, and why he feels the moral superiority to enact it.

Some dismissed the comment, while others called it a Freudian slip. But devotees of Freud maintain that a “slip” is actually caused by an unconscious or repressed wish, feeling or train of thought.

Poker players I know call it a “tell”. I believe it was simply Obama telling America, in a brief moment of honesty, what he really believed about the individual, and their relationship to the state.

“You did not build that business” revealed the antipathy that the president harbors for the individual, especially successful ones. No one is bigger than the state, and hence all that an individual achieves, the government has some claim to- whether it is your wealth, your intellectual property, or you.

Why would President Obama tell the American people lies about doctors, such as “...doctors would rather take out tonsils than treat a sore throat because it pays better” or “… doctors would rather cut off legs for $50,000 than take care of a diabetic before it got to this point”?

It is because he believes that doctors owe fealty to the government for what they have accomplished. Everyone has claim to their success. People need to see them for what they really are- rich, money driven mercenaries. He also needs to denigrate them in order for his agenda to succeed.

“Listen up”, he was saying to doctors. You did not achieve straight A’s in college, working into the late night and on weekends, while your roommates were out partying. Those grades could not have happened without the schools, paid for in part with Federal aid.

You did not graduate from medical school, putting in thousands more hours of studying and hard work. The government subsidized part of the school; your degree belongs to us all.

You did not complete your surgical residency, devoting tens of thousands of hours over 6-9 years, learning your craft and honing your skills, sacrificing your personal life in doing so. No, the government was right there, sending money to the hospitals where you learned how to become a surgeon. You could not have done this without Uncle Sam.

You did not succeed in your medical practice, working on average 60-80 hours every week, missing children’s birthday parties, anniversaries, soccer games and school plays. You did not pay exorbitant malpractice insurance rates to protect yourself from those who wish to prey on your ill-gotten gains.

You did not perform that life-saving cancer operation. The government was there every step of the way and made it possible for that to have happened. Why, the very road that you traveled to get to the hospital that day was built by all of the taxpayers.

And that gang banger that you treated in the emergency room for free in the middle of the night, which the government forced you to see, thanks to the EMTALA law, was something that they felt entitled to take from you- your time and skill- because they own a piece of you.

Herein is the essence of President Obama’s ideology. It is one that not only diminishes personal achievement, but goes on to claim that the fruits that are borne out of the toil leading to that achievement are to be shared with the state and hence everyone.

Obamacare is rooted in this philosophy. The doctors who are being counted upon to care for patients are merely footnotes in this massive new bureaucracy. The healthcare system is being turned upside down with the federal government in charge of deciding who gets what kind of care, by whom, where and how much they will pay for it. Those who engineered Obamacare believe that they can do this because they feel that they own a piece of every doctor in America and that the government has a right to this work.

It becomes easier to do this by convincing Americans that healthcare is an entitlement, and consequently, someone has to provide that care for them. It becomes easier for people to feel that sense of entitlement, if they believe that their doctors are not the compassionate individuals that they thought they were, but rather, greedy opportunists like the President has depicted them.

On the current path, the worst is yet to come. Doctors are quitting in anticipation of government controlling their practices. Doctor shortages are here, but will soon reach epic proportions. Covert rationing of care is coming because there will not be enough doctors to see patients.

There is still time to change course, but the window of opportunity is quickly closing. November 6 will be a referendum on what kind of America we want to have- one where personal achievement is valued, or one where everyone lays claim to those achievements.



My identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my old Facebook page as I rarely accessed it. For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Monday, August 20, 2012

Is libertarianism an infantile disorder?

In the excerpt below the very level-headed Mark Krikorian says it is:
I think libertarianism is an infantile disorder, an "ideology" in the worst, anti-Burkean sense of the word. That is not to say that many Americans who call themselves "libertarians" share that disorder — I think the appeal of the label comes from the Republican Party's pathetic big-government record over the past couple of decades. Despite the many patriotic Americans who call themselves "libertarians" as a kind of protest, the ideology of libertarianISM is a post-American creed that rejects national borders and nationhood itself.

Krikorian is of course alluding to "Left-Wing" Communism: An Infantile Disorder", a book by V.I. Lenin in which Lenin criticizes the more idealistic and less practical Communists of his day.

I am inclined to agree with Krikorian. The level of hate and fanaticism that I regularly read in libertarian publications can sometimes be quite nauseating. Ideas of moderation and compromise are a rarity. As I myself am very much a minimum government conservative I find a lot of libertarian analyses helpful so I will not go on a rampage of finger-pointing and naming names but some of the writers on Lew Rockwell's site (for instance) regularly sound distinctly unpleasant to me. Take this article by Karen de Coster for instance. It absolutely drips hate and dogmatism. She is admittedly an extreme food fanatic as much as she is a libertarian but that seems to pass muster among at least some libertarians. Their very Leftist contempt for the society they live in makes them disrespectful of scientific caution so food and health fads seem to flourish among them.

I will not go on but those who read much libertarian literature will know well why libertarians are and will remain a tiny minority in politics. Which is all the more a pity because a more moderate presentation might help in the great struggle against government and for the individual that is afoot in America today

An important caveat, however, is that there are as many versions of libertarianism as there are libertarians and there are a minority of libertarians who manage to keep their feet on the ground. There are, for instance, some libertarians who oppose unrestricted immigration, though that is far from the majority position among libertarians.


Obama’s ‘Success Story’ Headed for Bankruptcy

Obama failed to let General Motors go through normal bankruptcy reorganization in order to give 17% of the stock of a new GM corporation to the union thereby screwing the secured creditors (old-lady bondholders) out of their life savings. As under his tutelage the company’s market share has gone from 47% of the cars sold in America to 18% and the market price of the stock is only 25% of the taxpayer money he has invested in rescuing it why should he be allowed in the building? He needs to be sent packing along with his central planning big government nonsense

On the campaign trail, Barack Obama’s signature definition of “success” is the government bailout of General Motors. “I said I believe in American workers, I believe in this American industry, and now the American auto industry has come roaring back,” he told an audience in Pueblo, CO last week. “Now I want to do the same thing with manufacturing jobs, not just in the auto industry, but in every industry.” That pronouncement should send a shiver up the spine of every American, due to an inconvenient reality: according to Forbes Magazine, GM is likely headed for bankruptcy all over again.

The numbers are stark. The 500,000 shares of GM stock (comprising 26 percent of the company owned by the government–or more accurately the American taxpayer) sold for $20.21 on Tuesday. This left the government holding $10.1 billion worth of stock representing an unrealized loss of $16.4 billion. Even worse, in order to reach the break-even point, the stock would have to sell for around $53 per share.

The numbers remain in flux. As Investors Business Daily reveals, the Treasury Department continues “to revise upward the staggering losses inflicted on U.S. taxpayers.” They further note that the same day GM announced it was recalling 38,000 Impalas used by police in both America and Canada, due to a possible crash risk, a new Treasury report forecast that losses for GM were expected to reach $25 billion, which is $3.3 billion more than predicted earlier. Furthermore, since that report was based on GM’s stock price at the time of the report–15 percent higher than it is currently–those losses are likely understated....

A report by the Heritage Foundation paints a devastating picture of how politicized the bailout of GM truly was. Heritage notes that even if one accepts president Obama’s premise that the bailout out GM was necessary to prevent massive job losses,



Obama's Verbal Kindergarten

Shawn Mitchell

The president displayed his customary grace this week when he accused Team Romney-Ryan of pedaling "trickle-down fairy dust." It’s gratifying the president realizes he faces a serious economic and philosophical challenge, one that calls for vintage, anti-Reagan artillery. But, strictly speaking, the taunt he threw has always been an incoherent mess.

“Trickle down economics”--what does it mean? That if we don't tax the snot out of the rich, maybe they'll pour some spare pennies down on the heads of the poor? Nonsense. Beyond achieving a miserly-sounding sneer, the pairing is exactly wrong in at least three different ways.

First, in the ordinary course of things, the wealthy don’t actually trickle anything down on anyone. They pay for things they need and want, with whatever effects that produces in the economy. What progressives seem to prefer is a system to wring the rich like a wet towel and politically drizzle the money on the needy -—what’s left anyway after government waters its favored causes and cronies.

That's the ostensible approach of the shake-down state economies of the Euro-moribund zone and of the great Peron-Castro-Chavez banana tradition of strongmen gaining power, neutralizing competing power centers--like checks and balances—asserting economic control, and chocando the fortunes and freedom of rising Latin powers. (“Chocar” doesn’t mean “to choke” but close enough).

That turns out to be the real “trickle down”: extract lots of money from the rich, feed it through the digestive tract of government and its many corrupt parasites and dribble what’s left on the heads of the grateful, dependent poor, thus securing their suicidal votes.

Come to think, “trickle down economics” also reasonably describes the redistributive obsession and promises President Obama has powerfully and empirically debunked in an exhaustive four year field study. Bravo, Mr. President!

Second, what liberals call “trickle down” is just good ole’ “supply side" or “free market” economics. It means human freedom in commercial activity. Get out of the way of people’s pursuit of happiness and gainful labor, so free exchange and economic growth can build prosperity. Investors, entrepreneurs, managers, and workers build enterprises that hire employees to market goods and services. Opportunity spreads out from there.

Third, interestingly, if any vertical-spatial metaphor makes sense here, it’s not “down,” but “up.” “Trickle up economics” describes free enterprise far better than “trickle down.” The way to build wealth in a free economy is to satisfy the market, as in consumers. That is, to get rich you have to offer goods or services for which A) people are willing to pay you; B) a price higher than your cost of providing; and C) in sufficient quantity that profits proliferate. And your offer has to be more attractive than your competitors’.

If people get wealthy in a free economy, it's because the wealth trickles up as a result of others’ free choices pursuing their own benefit. All the related suppliers, employees, contractors and others also gain from the same flowing currents of wealth generation. Apart from charitable giving--a different subject--the rich don’t pour or trickle anything down on less fortunate heads; rather the middle and working classes earn income in the streams that trickle up toward success.

Ever since this silly insult first trickled harmlessly off Ronald Reagan’s Teflon, its logic has been amiss.

But when you hear it, be charitable. The speaker probably also has difficulty navigating “effect” and “affect”, and “your” and “you’re.” He’s literally a verbal kindergartner--figuratively speaking.



Adherence to the Constitution as a working definition of conservatism

In last week’s column I noted several specific examples of how the term “conservative” has been bastardized to mean standing for nothing other than not being a Democrat. Given what we’re seeing from Republican “leadership” on Capitol Hill, if every Republican is a conservative then nobody is.

This week I propose a remedy to the Republican Party establishment’s attempt to co-opt the term “conservative” and replace it with more Mitch McConnellesque milquetoast. That remedy will require a defined standard.

That defined standard should be the U.S. Constitution.

The best way to stop your movement from being co-opted is to adhere to a defined objective standard that holds everyone equally accountable. Anybody can call himself a “Conservative” just by killing one less unborn baby or stealing one less dollar from the taxpayers than the statists desire. But not everybody can call themselves a “Constitutionalist.” Either what you’re for or what you’re doing is in the Constitution or it is not. Last I checked, the Constitution does not include a “good ideas” provision or a “good intentions” clause.

The temptation of conservatism is to become a culture club, where a bunch of folks get together to self-righteously congratulate each other that they’re not as bad as the worst people in America. Conservativism settles for “anybody but Obama” in the White House, leaving the statist infrastructure the Left has hardwired into the culture largely in place, but with the promise to manage it better than the Leftist-Progressives will. Instead of stopping evil because it’s wrong, conservatism has sadly become “let’s just manage the decay because too much of it is icky.”

On the other hand, a “Constitutionalist” understands we also need “somebody that will repeal and nullify Obama” (or most of George W. Bush for that matter) in the White House. A Constitutionalist understands that defeating Democrats may be a key step, but it is just a step nonetheless. The real victory comes in determining public policy after your guys win the election, not just being content with your guys winning the election. Leaving in place the Left’s infrastructure means the election does little than give you a warm fuzzy that your team won. See how John Boehner and Mitch McConnell have essentially nullified the 2010 election results if you need more evidence.

A “Conservative” thinks the battle is won and lost in November. A “Constitutionalist” realizes the battle only begins in November. The real war comes in January regardless of who’s in power.

Since conservativism is no longer defined by objective moral absolutes, Republicans are now using the term “Conservative” as an excuse to measure themselves against the enemies of the Republic. But the term “Constitutionalist” brings with it an objective moral standard that compels them to raise their standard up to the Founding Fathers instead. We need a mechanism by which we have a standard to hold our elected officials accountable to something higher than “don’t destroy the country as quickly as the Democrats will.”

For example, President Obama claims to be a Christian, but everything he believes is in direct conflict with historic Christian orthodoxy, which is defined by the Bible as well as over 2,000 years of church tradition. That’s why scores of Christians who share those convictions doubt his Christianity. After all, you know a tree by its fruit.

Obama (or any mere mortal for that matter) does not get to subjectively define Christianity to suit his own agenda. Instead, Christianity is defined by an objective standard that defines who is actually a Christian. Without knowing what goes on in his private life, there is absolutely zero public evidence that Obama adheres to any semblance of Christian orthodoxy. Therefore, based on what we know publicly, regardless of what he claims there is no fruit to justify his public profession of being a Christian. The pastor he tutored under doesn’t preach Christian orthodoxy. He consistently governs contrary to Christian orthodoxy, to the point of being openly hostile to it. He associates with and advances the ambitions of those hostile to Christian orthodoxy. If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, well, you know the rest.

Similarly, patriots need a defined standard to hold everyone equally accountable to. What better device to use than the U.S. Constitution itself? Every official already swears an oath of office before God to uphold and defend it. It is the governing document of these United States. It’s also readily available and accepted by many across the country as the standard. All we have to do now is enforce it.

A recent interview Justice Antonin Scalia gave to Fox News illustrates exactly why this transition is necessary. Scalia could very well be the most “Conservative” justice we have on the Supreme Court, and could also be among the best “Conservative” justices we’ve had since the Progressives took over the law schools. But some of the answers he gave on Fox News weren’t “Constitutionalist.”

For example, Scalia was asked about his judicial philosophy. He talked about looking at the original meaning of the text to determine what its author meant it to say. That is certainly more “conservative” than Justice Stephen Breyer’s stated philosophy, which is essentially to say, “I am God and can make the text say whatever I want it to say, or just make up the law as I go along.”

Scalia gave a more “conservative” answer than Breyer did for sure. But Scalia never told us why he accepts the authority of the original meaning of the Constitution in interpreting the law. If we don’t offer reasons why to accept the Constitution’s actual words as the law of the land, then we have no defense against the Breyer’s of the world that reject its authority outright.

A “Constitutionalist” would’ve told Fox News, “I seek to interpret the Constitution through its original meaning because it is the law of the land that my fellow justices and I swore an oath of office before the Creator of the Universe to defend and uphold. It was written with the ‘Laws of Nature and Nature’s God’ in mind, which is the highest law. My title is judge, not God. I don’t get to change the objective standard of the Constitution to mean what I want it to mean anymore than I can change the objective law of gravity to suit my desire to fly. The Constitution says what it says regardless of each individual’s agenda, just as gravity exists regardless of your wish to leap tall buildings in a single bound. The worst Supreme Court decisions in American history have been the direct result of judges who thought they were de facto gods, and not accountable to anything higher than themselves.

“I believe our rights come from God and my job is to protect those God-given rights. Justice Breyer and his ilk believe government is all-powerful, and what government can grant it can also take away. We’ve rejected our Founders and have been conducting civilization their way for 50 years. How’s that working out for us? We’re broke across the board—morally and fiscally.”

Later in the interview, Chris Wallace asks if the Constitution’s original meaning allows for any limits on the Second Amendment given the advances in technology that make weapons more dangerous than Colonial-era muskets accessible today, to which Scalia responded “we’ll see.” If Scalia accepts the plain language of the Constitution and its Founders, what’s there to see?

What a Constitutionalist would’ve told Wallace is, “Chris, how would you like it if I decided that since there’s technology today that allows for a freedom of speech and freedom of the press our Founders would’ve never anticipated, that government can therefore limit what you say, who you say it to, and how often you get to say it? Our Founders never envisioned the Internet or 24-hour news networks. Because of the new technology, perhaps we should apply the premise of your question first to the First Amendment before moving on to the Second? How would you like that, Chris?”

Conserving the Left’s agenda is no longer an option. Time is running out on these United States. We need to articulate an agenda that will undo the damage done to this republic, and sprinkling a few free market reforms into the welfare state won’t cut it. This is no longer a debate between putting the pedal to the medal on the Highway to Hell and casually driving Miss Daisy down it instead.

We need to define an agenda that reverses the statist collision course we’re currently on. Instead of reinventing the wheel, why not simply return to the one that gave birth to the freest and most prosperous nation in the history of Creation?


There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.


My identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my old Facebook page as I rarely accessed it. For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Sunday, August 19, 2012

All charm


Why Liberals Behave the Way They Do

Ann Coulter

My smash best-seller "Demonic: How the Liberal Mob Is Endangering America" has just come out in paperback -- and not a moment too soon! Democrats always become especially mob-like during presidential election campaigns.

The "root cause" of the Democrats' wild allegations against Republicans, their fear of change, their slogans and insane metaphors, are all explained by mass psychology, diagnosed more than a century ago by the French psychologist Gustave Le Bon, on whose work much of my own book is based.

Le Bon's 1896 book, "The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind," was carefully read by Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini in order to learn how to incite mobs. Our liberals could have been Le Bon's study subjects.

With the country drowning in debt and Medicare and Social Security on high-speed bullet trains to bankruptcy, the entire Democratic Party refuses to acknowledge mathematical facts. Instead, they incite the Democratic mob to hate Republicans by accusing them of wanting to kill old people.

According to a 2009 report -- before Obama added another $5 trillion to the national debt -- Obama's own treasury secretary, Tim Geithner, stated that in less than 10 years, spending on major entitlement programs, plus interest payments on the national debt, would consume 92 cents of every dollar in federal revenue.

That means no money for an army, a navy, rockets, national parks, food inspectors, air traffic controllers, highways, and so on. Basically, the entire federal budget will be required just to pay for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security -- and the cost of borrowing money to pay for these programs.

When Social Security was enacted in 1935, the average lifespan was 61.7 years. Today, it's almost 79 and rising. But liberals believe the age at which people can begin collecting Social Security must never, ever be changed, even to save Social Security itself.

Mobs, according to Le Bon, have a "fetish-like respect" for tradition, except moral traditions because crowds are too impulsive to be moral. That's why liberals say our Constitution is a "living, breathing" document that sprouts rights to gay marriage and abortion, but the age at which Social Security and Medicare benefits kick in is written in stone.

Le Bon says that it is lucky "for the progress of civilization that the power of crowds only began to exist when the great discoveries of science and industry had already been effected." If "democracies possessed the power they wield today at the time of the invention of mechanical looms or of the introduction of steam-power and of railways, the realization of these inventions would have been impossible."

Liberals exhibit this exact group-think fear of science not only toward light bulbs and nuclear power, but also toward medical inventions. Thus, when a majority of the country objected to Obamacare on the grounds that -- among many other reasons -- a government takeover of health care would destroy medical innovation, liberals stared in blank incomprehension.

They believe every drug, every diagnosis, every therapy, every cure that will ever be invented, has already been invented. Their job is to spread all the existing cures, while demonizing and stymieing pharmaceutical companies that make money by inventing new drugs.

Democrats haven't the slightest concern about who will formulate new remedies because they are enraged at profit-making and suspicious of scientific advancement.

Apart from cures that will never be invented, liberal elites will be mostly untouched by the rotten medical care to which they are consigning the rest of us. Note how Democrats' friends, such as government unions, immediately received waivers from Obamacare. Rich or connected liberals, such as George Soros, Warren Buffett, Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama, will always have access to the best doctors, just as Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez do.

It is similar to the way that Democrats, who refuse to pass school choice, always seem to bypass the disastrous public schools for their own children, who end up at Sidwell Friends or St. Albans.

Democrats don't worry about how bankrupting Social Security and destroying the job market hurts black people, bitter divorcees and young people, because they can always demagogue these one-party Democratic voters simply by repeating that Republicans are racist, hate women and aren't cool like Obama.

The truth is irrelevant; only slogans and fear-mongering delight mobs.

The rest of us are forced to live in a lawless universe of no new pharmaceuticals, foreign doctors, gay marriage, girl soldiers, a health care system run by the post office, and bankrupt Social Security and Medicare systems, because liberals can't enjoy their wealth unless other people are living in squalor.

The country will have the economy of Uganda, but Democrats will be in total control.



Another old Lefty wises up

Leftists hate it when you point out how people normally become more conservative as they get older and thus learn something about the real world. Some Leftists even try to deny that the swing happens -- despite such prominent examples of liberals-turned-conservative as Ronald Reagan and Winston Churchill. So the example below should have them steaming

Shrewd move in choosing House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., as running mate for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Now here's the next play: Invite George McGovern, the 1972 Democratic presidential candidate, to speak this month in Tampa at the Republican National Convention.

Yes, that old lefty McGovern. You know the expression, "A conservative is a liberal who has been mugged"? Well, McGovern has been mugged.

The most left-wing Democratic presidential candidate this side of Barack Obama, former Sen. McGovern, D-S.D., proposed giving every man, woman and child an annual $1,000 "demogrant." In his nomination acceptance speech, McGovern made the same case that Obama makes today -- capitalism and free markets let us down, and social justice require universal health coverage: "A program to put America back to work demands that work be properly rewarded. That means the end of a system of economic controls in which labor is depressed, but prices and corporate profit run sky-high. It means a system of national health insurance so that a worker can afford decent health care for himself and his family."

McGovern's left-wing bona fides are beyond questioning.

Sen. Bobby Kennedy, D-N.Y., himself a presidential candidate in 1968, called McGovern the "only decent man in the Senate." A decorated World War II bomber pilot, McGovern fiercely opposed the Vietnam War and pushed for a complete and immediate withdrawal of American troops. Name a tax hike, spending bill or new regulation, and very likely McGovern supported it. But after he left the Senate in 1981, something happened that profoundly changed several of his most deeply held views.

McGovern went into business for himself -- and went bust.

Following the recommendation of a friend with "a lifetime of hotel- and restaurant-management experience," McGovern bought a small hotel and restaurant, the Stratford Inn in Connecticut. He poured his savings into the place, investing his seven year's worth of post-Senate earnings from the lecture circuit.

A contributing factor to the failure, according to McGovern, was the regulations that make it tough to make a profit. In a mea culpa that should chill every lefty on the Hill, McGovern said: "I wish I had known more firsthand about the concerns and problems of American businesspeople while I was a U.S. senator and later a presidential nominee. That knowledge would have made me a better legislator and a more worthy aspirant to the White House. ... I learned first of all that over the past 20 years America has become the most litigious society in the world. ... The second lesson I learned by owning the Stratford Inn is that legislators and government regulators must more carefully consider the economic and management burdens we have been imposing on U.S. businesses. ... Many businesses, especially small independents such as the Stratford Inn, simply can't pass such costs on to their customers and remain competitive or profitable."

"I wish I had known more firsthand about the concerns and problems of American businesspeople." Holy Ayn Rand! Then in the spring of 2008, McGovern wrote an article called, "Freedom Means Responsibility":

"Many people can't afford the gold-plated health plans that are the only options available in their states," wrote McGovern. "Buying health insurance on the Internet and across state lines, where less expensive plans may be available, is prohibited by many state insurance commissions. Despite being able to buy car or home insurance with a mouse click, some state governments require their approved plans for purchase or none at all. It's as if states dictated that you had to buy a Mercedes or no car at all."

This is, of course, exactly what Republicans, pre-ObamaCare, offered as one of the ways to increase the affordability of health care insurance -- without further government intrusion.

McGovern, in warning about excessive regulation, sounded almost Reaganesque: "Under the guise of protecting us from ourselves, the right and the left are becoming ever more aggressive in regulating behavior. ... Since leaving office, I've written about public policy from a new perspective: outside looking in. I've come to realize that protecting freedom of choice in our everyday lives is essential to maintaining a healthy civil society.

"Why do we think we are helping adult consumers by taking away their options? We don't take away cars because we don't like some people speeding. We allow state lotteries despite knowing some people are betting their grocery money. Everyone is exposed to economic risks of some kind. But we don't operate mindlessly in trying to smooth out every theoretical wrinkle in life.

"The nature of freedom of choice is that some people will misuse their responsibility and hurt themselves in the process. We should do our best to educate them, but without diminishing choice for everyone else."

McGovern did a lot of damage while in Congress. Here's a chance for him to help undo some of it. For the sake of the country, McGovern should share his hard-earned wisdom -- at the Republican National Convention.

Invite him, Mitt. If he can't make it, then quote him.



What part of "health care is a finite resource" does the Left not understand?

Regardless of all the promises made by ObamaCare, there are still only 24 hours in a day and there are a finite number of doctors available to fulfill the starry-eyed promises the law makes. That's reality, something the left routinely attempts to pretend doesn't exist.

Some examples of the point - ObamaCare will put 30 million more people on insurance rolls Yay, problem of health care solved, right?

No, of course not. There will still be the same number of doctors and hours in a day. As we've been saying repeatedly, getting insurance does not mean you'll be able to see a doctor.
And then there are the new requirements placed on doctors by ObamaCare that further exacerbate the problem. For instance:
Take preventive care. ObamaCare says that health insurance must cover the tests and procedures recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. What would that involve? In the American Journal of Public Health (2003), scholars at Duke University calculated that arranging for and counseling patients about all those screenings would require 1,773 hours of the average primary-care physician's time each year, or 7.4 hours per working day.

So, a doctor either commits to 10 or 12 hours of work a day or she sees patients for other reasons for 2/3rds an hour a day. Or try this:
Meanwhile, the administration never seems to tire of reminding seniors that they are entitled to a free annual checkup. Its new campaign is focused on women. Thanks to health reform, they are being told, they will have access to free breast and pelvic exams and even free contraceptives. Once ObamaCare fully takes effect, all of us will be entitled to a long list of preventive services-with no deductible or copayment.

Of course, none of that is "free", but much of it will also tie up a doctor's time. Preventive care costs money - lots of money - and when you have someone else paying for it, even more people will try to take advantage of that. The left thinks that's a feature, not a bug. Here's the real-world problem, however:
If the screenings turn up a real problem, there will have to be more testing and more counseling. Bottom line: To meet the promise of free preventive care nationwide, every family doctor in America would have to work full-time delivering it, leaving no time for all the other things they need to do.

In effect, it is government mandating treatment that fills up the doctor's time when much of that treatment may not be necessary. But that call has been taken out of the doctor's hands with this law. If a patient demands all their "free" stuff, then what?

I often harp on the fact that the left seems sublimely ignorant on how the laws of economics work. Well, what ObamaCare has set up are exactly the same conditions that plague most government run healthcare systems:
When demand exceeds supply in a normal market, the price rises until it reaches a market-clearing level. But in this country, as in other developed nations, Americans do not primarily pay for care with their own money. They pay with time.

Prepare yourself for long waits for what you now consider to be routine problems. If it is routine you will likely have less of a chance of seeing a doctor than you do now. Best hope you can self- medicate or just wait out the problem. If it is a serious problem, you'll most likely still be in for a wait. Why?
As physicians increasingly have to allocate their time, patients in plans that pay below-market prices will likely wait longest. Those patients will be the elderly and the disabled on Medicare, low-income families on Medicaid, and (if the Massachusetts model is followed) people with subsidized insurance acquired in ObamaCare's newly created health insurance exchanges.

Econ 101. So what is likely to happen?
When people cannot find a primary-care physician who will see them in a reasonable length of time, all too often they go to hospital emergency rooms.

Uh, wasn't that a big part of the impetus behind creating ObamaCare? To "solve" that problem? In fact, it is likely to exacerbate it.

Of course the solution to the government made problem will be what? Most likely more government. Those patients who are in those plans that pay below-market reimbursement will complain to whom? Politicians. And vote hungry politicians will try to do what? "Fix" the problem they created. And who will they make the bad guys? Well, certainly not them - greedy doctors or insurance companies most likely.

You can see this coming from a mile off - well if your eyes aren't full of moon dust and you have even a passing acquaintance with how the real world works. As P.J. O'Rourke so aptly said, "If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it's free."

Unless this monstrosity of a law is repealed, we're about to find out.




PA: $600 a day fine for feeding needy children: "A woman in Chester Township, Pennsylvania has been warned that she could be fined as much as $600 a day if she continues to feed needy children in her community. Angela Prattis has been feeding lunch to as many as 60 children a day under a program funded by the state’s Department of Education and administered by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. But because Prattis [is] allowing the children to come to her home, Chester Township has threatened fines of $600 a day if she continues to hand out the lunches, which consist of a sandwich, fruit and milk. Prattis told KPLC that the town sent her a letter stating she needed a variance to use her personal residence."

Obama-Biden: Hope and chains: "Vice President Joe Biden played the race card this week when he drawled Southern-style to a racially mixed audience that if Mitt Romney takes the White House, he'll 'unchain Wall Street. They're going to put y'all back in chains.' ... The president's henchmen are running a dirty campaign. The worst part of it: These nasty antics are the best Obamaland has to offer. ... The president blames 'the other side' for not playing fair, and then somehow expects Americans to re-elect him so he can not get things done again."


My identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my old Facebook page as I rarely accessed it. For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)